Scientists state that a gigantic asteroid will pass close to Earth on April 19, but they share that there is no reason for concern. NASA states that the gigantic asteroid will not make contact with Earth, but for an asteroid of its size it will get extremely close.
The asteroid which has been named 2014 JO25 measures 2000 feet across, which is close to the size of China’s Shanghai Tower, which is the second-tallest building in the world. The asteroid will pass by Earth at a relatively safe distance of 1.1 million miles, reports Scientific American.
Nasa released a statement saying that small asteroids pass at this distance from Earth, but this asteroid is traveling closer to Earth than any asteroid its size has before it.
NASA first become aware of 2014 JO25 around three years ago. While astronomers were monitoring the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona. Astronomers say they saw the asteroid through their powerful telescopes. At the time of the sighting astronomers were searching for asteroids that were potential threats to Earth, reports Sky.com.
Astronomers know very little about the astroids physical properties. NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) reports that the giant asteroid is almost twice as reflective as the moon. Those who love to keep an eye on the skies will be able to see the asteroid with a small telescope. Once the asteroid is first visible in the night sky it will fade into the distance. It will disappear completely after a night or two.
A representative from NASA states that the April 19 encounter will offer astronomers a rare opportunity to study the asteroid. Astronomers plan on studying the asteroid using telescopes across the world. They will use radar observations at NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar located in California as well as National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. These radar images could possibly reveal surface details about the asteroid that are as small as a few meters, reports EarthSky.com.
NASA recommends that if stargazers want to head into the night to get a look at the asteroid they should check out comet PanSTARRS (C/2015 ER61). The giant asteroid will make the closest approach to Earth, which will be an estimated 109 million miles from Earth. Astronomers state that it will be visible in the April 19 dawn sky with either a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.
By Tammy Marie Rose
Photo Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech